An Ethiopian Airline is on the receiving end on the allegations of discrimination after allegedly blocking a man living with disability from boarding its plane.
Harun Hassan, living with a disability, took to Facebook to air out his frustrations saying the airline prevented his travel because of his condition.
“Ethiopian Airline this morning (5 am) -shockingly because of my disability- told me I shouldn’t be flying their airline. I was to travel to the USA for a tight-scheduled fellowship program at a certain University in America,” he said.
Harun further said that the supervisor told him he could not travel alone since such provision was not available with their airline.
However, the victims say the ticket was clear that he was in a wheelchair and he will be travelling alone.
“My ticket indicates I am a wheelchair user and will be travelling alone. The night Supervisor a lady who introduced herself as Judy refused to listen to me; even when I tried hard to get her attention, she just ignored me,” he narrated.
According to the victim, this is not the first time he has been travelling alone and his first experience with the Ethiopian airline was a clear violation of his rights.
He further said that no apologies were given to him despite the inconvenience since he was left stranded at the airport without any official communication.
When the writer of this article visited the Ethiopian airline website to scan any provisions requiring people living with disabilities not to travel alone, the directive was not available.
According to ethiopianairlines.com, travelers with disability need to make prior arrangements on any assistance they need to facilitate their travel and also check-in one hour before the departure time.
The airline also says it provides wheelchairs to those who don’t have as long as arrangements are made 48 hrs before their time of travelling.
“Ethiopian customer service personnel are available to assist customers in boarding, deplaning and transferring between gates using wheelchairs and aisle chairs,” read part of the guideline at the website.
According to Kenya Airport Authority guidelines, travelers who need special assistance are required to contact the airline directly or via travel agent to book assistance.
It further states that one should tell the airline if he or she intends to take own mobility aid such as wheelchair or scooter.